Have you ever said something to someone, only to have them focus on their perception of your tone rather than the content of the message? In my estimation, tone matters little outside the arena of American Idol, and the like. But, to each his own. Are you perhaps the one doing the inferring and reacting without actually receiving the message? As always, studio life mirrors all that occurs outside of it.
At the studio, there is so much that we do as teachers to try to encourage students to experience and benefit from the practice, both yoga and/or meditation. This encouragement sometimes leads to confusion and possibly frustration as a result of misinterpreting the delivery of the message.
I can't even tell you how many times I've heard the phrase: "You make it sound so easy.", My response usually suggests two things: 1) this work is not easy, no matter how you interpret the way in which I say what I say; and 2) what else are you doing in life?
The thought that this spiritual work is too big, too much, too hard, too complicated, or too painful is the barrier. Recognize that on the part of the student, one of the potential pitfalls is to give up before true commitment even begins.
Recognize that on the part of the teacher, one of the potential pitfalls is to encourage without depth, to plant seeds without cultivation. As above, the barrier that results lies in miscommunication, misinterpretation, missing the boat overall.
So, here are the top 3 topics where I, based on recent interactions, could stand to express myself a bit more clearly. Each topic could certainly stand alone, to be examined in depth, but I'm just planting seeds here.
(Warning: I will try to state them simply. Do not infer anything from this).
1). The path.
When I refer to the path, I'm talking about the interplay between a number of things. It is the accumulation of a lifetime of experiences, sure, but that's just the superficial view. The path, individualized, has everything to do with your ability and dedication to expanded awareness. To refer to the path as winding, varied, or non-linear is not just about noticing a wide range of experiences, but it is also about noticing how, over time, our conscious awareness of ourselves within the context of those experiences changes. Moments of diminished self-awareness are a part of the path as well. So, the path is all about seeing the expansion and contraction of our individual level of awareness over time. In other words, it is the process of Consciousness becoming aware of itself.
2). Letting go.
Letting go is a clichéd notion for sure. Clever sayings like, "Let go, or get dragged" get at the point rather quickly. The first part of letting go is realizing and accepting that we create suffering for ourselves, in abundance. Sometimes letting go gets confused with minimizing, running away from, or sweeping something under the proverbial rug. That's not where it's at.
If the first part of letting go is realizing, the second part of letting go is deciding. We have the ability to decide not to continue the story or start a new story that will perpetuate drama and suffering. Awareness is key here as well. What makes the most sense to me is to suggest that when letting go, we come upon the realization that whatever happened, or didn't happen; whatever was said, or not said, really has nothing to do with one's ability to experience this moment. Ask yourself, preferably in the midst of drama, what does it (the story) have to do with right now? Letting go is like a loving gesture to your spirit. Choosing to do no more harm, you decide to move onward, starting with this moment.
3). Making the disconnect from ego.
Disconnecting from ego is absolutely essential to letting go. Not only that, it will provide a clearer view of your travels along the path. For, that expanded state of awareness, ie, clarity, comes only when the clouds of ego dissipate.
I don't suggest that the full eradication of ego is healthy or possible, but it's best kept in check. When we become better able to internally question the legitimacy of feeling superior or inferior, or being offended, we begin to take away ego's power. When we begin to see ourselves beyond labels, roles, and circumstances and begin to define our worth beyond the financial, we cannot help but to strengthen the connection to spirit.
It becomes second nature to question silly notions. Silly notions rooted in fear, a sense of separation, and/or "non-presence" pave the way for misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and missing the boat overall.
Making the disconnect is really just a willingness to get to know your own ego tendencies and make a constant attempt to see, act and react beyond them.